We report the diffusion characteristics of water vapor through two different porous media, viz., membrane electrode assembly (MEA) and gas diffusion layer (GDL) in a nonoperational fuel cell. Tunable diode laser absorption spectroscopy (TDLAS) was employed for measuring water vapor concentration in the test channel. Effects of the membrane pore size and the inlet humidity on the water vapor transport are quantified through mass flux and diffusion coefficient. Water vapor transport rate is found to be higher for GDL than for MEA. The flexibility and wide range of application of TDLAS in a fuel cell setup is demonstrated through experiments with a stagnant flow field on the dry side.

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